Researchers in Malaysia revealed that Peninsular Malaysia hosts at least three rare mussel species, one of which (Hyriopsis bialata) is not found anywhere else on the planet. Another species (Ensidens ingallsianus) may have already gone extinct.
In a ground-breaking study path-breaking for the Southeast Asian region, a research group led by The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC) revealed that Peninsular Malaysia hosts at least three rare mussel species, one of which (Hyriopsis bialata) is not found anywhere else on the planet. Another species (Ensidens ingallsianus) may have already gone extinct.
Dr Ziertiz examining the types of mussels she collected.
Copyright : UNMC
Most native species are severely threatened by ongoing nutrient pollution and acidification of freshwater habitats caused by atmospheric pollution, deforestation, oil-palm plantations and a lack of functioning wastewater treatment particularly in rural areas. As mussels are efficient filter-feeders and provide habitat for smaller organisms such as insect larvae, their loss can lead to algal blooms and further loss of aquatic biodiversity.
An international group of scientists; Dr John-James Wilson and Pei-Yin Ng from University of Malaya; Samuel Walton from Universiti Malaysia Terengganu; Dr Khairul Adha A. Rahim from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak; Dr Elsa Froufe and Manuel Lopes-Lima, Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research, Portugal; Professor Ronaldo Sousa from University of Minho, Portugal; Dr Arthur E. Bogan from North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences (USA); Dr Suzanne McGowan from The University of Nottingham UK and Dr Alexandra Zieritz from The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, who is leading this research, surveyed 155 localities across all states of Peninsular Malaysia for mussels and recorded their environmental requirements.
The team spent a total of 30 days in the field, scouring the sandy and muddy beds of Malaysia’s rivers and lakes for mussels simply using their hands. Environmental conditions at each location, such as water pH and oxygen concentration, were also recorded. The findings of this study, worth USD 9,262 (RM 38269.19) and funded by The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund , are published in Science of the Total Environment, a leading international scientific journal.
The group found nine Malaysian and one introduced Chinese species in the peninsula. Whilst the introduced species is rapidly spreading and posing an additional threat to native mussels, many of the native species are declining. Authors believe that another species previously recorded from the region may have already become extinct in the country.
Sungai Pahang and Sungai Perak, two of the longest rivers in Peninsular Malaysia are of particular importance to the conservation of very rare mussel species. One of these, holding the scientific name Hyriopsis bialata but simply called “layar” (sail) by the locals in the surrounding villages, cannot be found anywhere else on the planet. To protect these globally unique populations of mussels, the authors recommend establishing riparian buffers and improving waste water treatment for rivers running through agricultural and residential land.
“I hope that the study will serve as an example for future projects of this kind in Southeast Asia and ultimately lead to the legal protection of these important organisms. Mussels and other invertebrates are often overlooked in this respect, because they are less charismatic than beautiful large mammals such as tigers. However, these small organisms represent an equally important part of our ecosystems, especially in freshwater habitats.” said Dr Zieritz.
“Our ultimate goal is to get concrete Action Plans for the most endangered species in Malaysia in place, which could involve habitat restoration and breeding programs. Whilst this might come too late for the presumably extinct Ensidens ingallsianus, taking action will be vital to preserve Malaysia’s unique and rare species such as Hyriopsis bialata for future generations,” Dr Zieritz said.
“Freshwater mussels and many other freshwater animal groups show very high rates of endemism in Southeast Asia. This means that many of these species have a very restricted distribution, such as Hyriopsis bialata, which can be found exclusively in the lower Pahang river. That means if we lose these mussels in the lower Pahang, we have lost the entire species for good on the whole planet,” Dr Zieritz explained.
In collaboration with the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Dr Zieritz and her team are currently revising the conservation status of the Malaysian species and developing a National Red-list of the freshwater mussels of Malaysia, including Sarawak and Sabah, which will be publicly available at the National Red List website. Readers interested in becoming involved in the project are encouraged to get in touch with Dr. Zieritz through her project webpage.
More information is available from Dr Alexandra Zieritz at firstname.lastname@example.org; or Josephine Dionisappu, PR & Communications Manager at The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus on +603 8924 8746, email@example.com.
Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with a “distinct” approach to internationalisation, which rests on those full-scale campuses in China and Malaysia, as well as a large presence in its home city.’ (Times Good University Guide 2016). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and the winner of ‘Outstanding Support for Early Career Researchers’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2015. It is ranked in the world’s top 75 by the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, and 8th in the UK by research power according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014. It has been voted the world’s greenest campus for four years running, according to Greenmetrics Ranking of World Universities.
Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future.
Josephine Dionisappu | Research SEA
Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide
How to detect water contamination in situ?
22.09.2016 | Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU)
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences
25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
25.10.2016 | Process Engineering